The Irishman was asked for his opinion on the distance debate ahead of this week's Honda Classic

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Harrington On Equipment Rollback: “A Massive Advantage To The Long Hitters”

The topic of distance was raised with Padraig Harrington ahead of this week’s Honda Classic and the Irishman didn’t hold back, covering everything from his own 20-year quest for more yards to where he sees the game in the future.

And in among all that, of course the conversation turned to the potentially soon-to-be-proposed equipment rollback, with the Ryder Cup captain having his say on the fiercely debated topic.

“Everybody argues about speed, and the argument always tends to go about whether you like people who hit it long or you don’t,” Harrington began by saying.

“But that argument is just personal opinion. You can’t argue, if some person likes it, some person doesn’t like it, whether the golf is more fun or not.

“That is purely down to each individual person.

“So anybody who’s arguing on social media; it’s crazy because it’s just personal opinion. It’s not a factual argument.”

Indeed, if you are to scan Twitter in particular when Bryson DeChambeau is playing you will see the usual culprits stating their respective cases on either side of the fence. And Harrington thinks DeChambeau should be championing the calls for a rollback as much as anyone, as it’s the long hitters who stand to gain the most.

He said: “The one thing that nobody seems to be getting in the whole of this argument; it’s a massive advantage to the long hitters if they tail back the equipment.

“If they bring it back, it’s a huge… Bryson gains massively if they draw back the equipment.

“If you reduce Bryson by 10 per cent – say he’s hitting it 350 [yards] and he’s now hitting it 315 – and you reduce a guy who’s hitting it 300 and you reduce him to 270, Bryson is OK.

“He’s still that same percentage ahead but it’s a lot easier to hit the golf ball on a golf course at 315 than it is at 345 or 350.

“It’s an incredible advantage to the long hitters if they tail back how far the ball goes.”

Not only has DeChambeau achieved great success through his relentless pursuit of distance, but he has inspired others to try and follow his example – most notably Rory McIlroy. And now that Pandora’s box has been opened, Harrington insists speed is always going to play a huge role in professional golf going forward, no matter what they do with the equipment.

“It [a rollback] will encourage even more of a chase for long hitting because it’s such an advantage.

“And remember, it doesn’t matter what they do with the equipment going forward. You can’t change now.

“You’re going to have young guys coming out who swing a 7-iron at 110 miles per hour and that means there’s no lie in the rough, there’s no tree they can’t get over or can’t get out of.

“I saw it with Tiger [Woods]. In 1996 he destroyed everybody because he was faster. He was a good player and was faster, and Rory did the same thing.

“Now we’re seeing Bryson, he’s obviously getting the limelight for it and it’s very impressive.

“He should be screaming for a rollback because it would give him a big advantage.”

Do you agree with the European Ryder Cup captain?